Development of small molecule probes for PET imaging in oncology

Completed Research Project
James Kelly, Ph.D.
Last Updated: 
June 14, 2022

Under the guidance of Dr. John Babich, Dr. Kelly designed and synthesized many small-molecule radiotracers for cancer imaging. Chief among these probes were 18 fluorodeoxyglucose (F)-labeled compounds targeting prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a validated biomarker for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. These ligands are characterized by high tumor uptake and reduced bladder accumulation in preclinical models and are currently undergoing first-in-human studies. Additionally, Dr. Kelly’s research has resulted in a 68 gallium (Ga)-labeled ligand, [68Ga]Ga-RPS-1309 that targets fibroblast activation protein (FAP). FAP expression is increased in cancer-associated fibroblasts; during normal wound healing; and in pathological fibrosis. [68Ga]Ga-RPS-1309 is a tool for imaging cancer and for monitoring healing following orthopedic surgery. It is a promising diagnostic ligand.

Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Radiology
525 East 68th Street New York, NY 10065